There’s nothing I love more than a great drugstore beauty bargain. With just a little trial and error, (ok, and a whole lot of patience!) it’s possible to find amazing products at your local pharmacy that are comparable to— and sometimes even surpass—luxury brands. You don’t always have to shell out a lot of cash on high end products when it’s not necessary! By learning how to buy some essentials at the drugstore, not only are you saving on products you use daily and therefore need to buy more often, but you’ll never be stuck in a jam without knowing where to grab a basic item that gets the job done.
But sorting through those long neon-lit aisles can get a tad overwhelming. So to help you navigate it all, here are some of my favorite drugstore finds that I use regularly and love.
1. Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen
In the name of SPF, I hereby declare Neutrogena Sheer Zinc the absolute best! I’m all about preserving skin and avoiding (or rather, delaying) wrinkles and this gets the job done as well as any high end product. This sunscreen will make every and any dermatologist swoon when they hear you tell them that you use it on the daily. It’s also perfect for using under your makeup because it’s not too oily and will layer invisibly without the fear of clogging your pores. The zinc oxide goes on gently and sheer while still managing to deliver on the sun protection it promises. This works for all skin types, but especially for the sensitive kind.
2. e.l.f. Ultimate Blending Brush
This is such a good foundation brush. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll understand why it’s called ultimate! I’m a big fan of mostly all of the e.l.f brushes you can find at the pharmacy. The bristles are extremely smooth and it blends on the face really nicely for even coverage. I use it to blend out foundation, concealer, and even to blend out my contour and apply cream blush. I should probably pick up a couple more…
3. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Treatment Makeup
If you’re searching for great coverage to help hide your ‘I binge watched Netflix last night’ under eye circles, then look no further than this concealer. I use the medium tone and it’s my all-time drugstore favorite. I usually apply it to the center of my face, under my eyes, and a little on my forehead before I blend it out. What I like most about this concealer is that it doesn’t crease or sink into your face lines like other liquid attempts. It’s long-lasting and won’t leave your skin looking cakey by the end of the day. It’s also more on the opaque, creamy side, so if you’re trying it out for the first time, make sure to use it as a buildable tool.
4. Clairol Nice ‘N Easy Root Touch-Up
Gray hairs are probably my biggest beauty challenge. And on almost-black hair, it’s unsightly and an all around pain in the ass. I’d spent the last couple of years using pro brands to dye my hair— the kind that instruct you to wait 50 minutes before rinsing out and still don’t get all the grays— until I tried out Clairol’s Root Touch-Up a few months ago. I could kick myself for not trying this out earlier! The box says it covers grays in 10 minutes, which I fully didn’t believe… Until I tried it myself! Ten minutes after I applied with the easy-to-use brush included in the kit, I washed and dried my hair to find not a trace of gray on my head.
5. Jordana Sculpt N Go Creamy Contour Stick
The Jordana contour stick is hands down the best drugstore contour product ever. It’s nice and creamy and in a stick form so it’s super easy to use—and pack—when applying it in all the usual spots: Hollows of the cheeks, around the forehead, and a little at the tip of the nose. It’s blendable and matte which I prefer for that extra definition. I buy it in deep color and the texture is comparable to any other high-end contour, so there’s really no need to splurge.
6. Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Washable Mascara
I’ve got three words for you—drama, volume, and curl! I always prefer achieving the lifted look on the outer corners of my lashes when it comes to mascara, and this one does the trick. It scoops my lashes up root to tip, giving them that extra plumpness that helps give them that extra length. The wand is great and applies evenly, separating your lashes throughout. You can even use it with multiple coats, but make sure it’s still wet if you’re going for a second layer.
7. Rimmel London Scandaleyes Waterproof eyeliner
I use this black liner for the inner rims of my eyes to help define the eye line. It glides on seamlessly for a waterproof and smudge-proof look—my favorite! For a more natural look, I like to darken up my lash line using this product so it looks like I’m not actually wearing any mascara. You can also sharpen it using a regular, small pencil sharpener so you don’t have to have more than one sharpener hanging around in your makeup bag. But the best thing about this eyeliner is that it lasts and lasts.
8. Andrea Eye Q’s Moisturizing Eye Makeup Remover Pads
I’m almost too nervous to reveal this gem because these makeup remover pads are an old secret in my family. They can be a little hard to come by, so once I find them, I usually stock up. I’ve tried almost every eye makeup remover out there and I can easily say that this is the best one on the market. Andrea Eye Q’s are not only effective in removing both regular and waterproof products, but the pads also condition the eye area without causing any skin redness or irritation, so the skin above and below your eyes will never dry out. I usually just wipe the excess oil around my eyes with a tissue before washing my face and everything comes off without that burning feeling a lot of towelettes can cause.
9. Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Super Hydrating Mask
If you have yet to enjoy the richness of this moisturizer mask, do yourselves (and your face!) a favor and run to your nearest drugstore to buy it. My skin basically thanks me every time I use this stuff. It isn’t overly greasy but a little does go a long way as it absorbs quickly. This is perfect for all skin types, but if you have dry skin or random dry patches, it’s especially helpful. I like to use it before bedtime but I also bring it with me on the airplane when I want to keep my skin extra hydrated inflight.
10. Maybelline Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer
Eyebrows are everything! So I use this gel 24/7 no matter what makeup mood I’m in. My go-to is Auburn which I apply in short upward strokes to set my brows and give them a fuller look. It doesn’t clump and isn’t overly sticky so it goes on extra smooth. The volumizer is also quick drying and keeps my brows in place for the entire day. Happy brows = happy me.